Monday, February 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers (36-10) vs Magic (13-36)
Wheat Hotchkiss | Updated: 5:45 p.m., February 3, 2014
The Pacers (36-10) host the Orlando Magic (13-36) on Monday, the final game of a three-game homestand. The Pacers and Magic met at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Opening Night, but haven't squared off since the Pacers' 97-87 victory on Oct. 29. Since they last played Orlando, Indiana has played every other team in the NBA with the exception of Dallas.
The Pacers and Magic occupy opposite ends of the league standings. Thanks to Oklahoma City's loss to Washington on Saturday night, Indiana again owns the league's best record. Orlando has the second-worst record in the NBA, ahead of only Milwaukee. The Magic played Sunday afternoon in Boston, falling to the Celtics, 96-89.
Orlando is clearly still in rebuilding mode after trading All-NBA center Dwight Howard 17 months ago. The Magic's roster is the fifth-youngest in the NBA, with an average age of 25 years and 217 days, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Magic are led by shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who is averaging 20 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, all career-highs. Afflalo is a dangerous shooter, ranking 12th in the NBA in 3-point percentage (.419). The seventh-year pro out of UCLA was a strong candidate for a spot on the All-Star team, but was likely passed over in part because of his team's poor record.
Five other players have double-digit scoring averages. Third-year center Nicola Vucevic averages a double-double (13.1 points and 10.8 boards per game).
Victor Oladipo, the former Indiana University star and second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, has started 29 games as a rookie and is tied for second on the team with 13.8 points per game. An explosive athlete with all the tools to be a lockdown defender, Oladipo ranks 10th in the NBA with 77 steals on the season.
21-year-old forward Tobias Harris has scored in double figures in 15 of 17 games and recorded five double-doubles since Jan. 2. Power forward Glen Davis averages 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Neither Harris nor Davis played against the Pacers on Opening Night.
For the Pacers, it's been an uneven homestand. On Thursday, Indiana suffered just its second home loss all season, falling 102-94 to Phoenix. They rebounded on Saturday night for a 97-96 win over Brooklyn, but committed a season-high 24 turnovers that resulted in 36 points on the other end.
The Pacers aren't particularly happy with how they're playing on either end of the floor right now. Monday's game is the perfect opportunity to work out the recent kinks against one of the NBA's cellar dwellers. The Pacers might have the talent on paper to beat Orlando without playing their best, but they'll want to be playing better heading into a tough road test Tuesday night in Atlanta and Friday's showdown at The Fieldhouse with 33-13 Portland.
The Pacers signed free agent center Andrew Bynum on Saturday morning, but head coach Frank Vogel said before Saturday's game that the former All-Star will not play for the Pacers on Monday night. He's unlikely to join the team before the middle of the week, and Vogel said Bynum might not play in a game until he's practiced with the team for a couple weeks.
Magic: Jameer Nelson (out, sore left knee)
"They're going to be good. They're a young team, they're explosive, and they've got guys that can make shots out there." -Paul George on the Magic
“They've got a couple parts now that have been added. They've got (Glen Davis) back now. We didn't see him the first time around. He brings another level for that team. He was tough, years back, battling him in the (2012 first round) playoff series." -Paul George on how Orlando has changed since October's game
"We're playing a little sluggish right now. I think we're still feeling the West Coast trip a little bit. We've got to get back to playing with a high motor off the basketball. When we're not spacing and cutting and screening appropriately off the basketball, the guy with the basketball tends to pound it a lot more, so the ball movement isn't as good as it needs to be." -Frank Vogel
- The Pacers have won three straight games over Orlando and lead the overall series 45-44, including a 28-17 mark at home.
- Indiana won the season series last year, 2-1. The two teams split a pair of games in Orlando, while the Pacers won the lone meeting in Indianapolis.
- The Pacers and Magic met in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. The third-seeded Pacers defeated sixth-seeded Orlando in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2005.
- The Pacers have scored 40 or more points in the paint in each of their last 10 contests.
October 29: The Pacers defeated the Magic in the season-opener, 97-87. The Pacers blocked a franchise-record 18 shots in the game, including seven from Roy Hibbert and five from David West.
Though the Magic hung around for much of the night, Paul George's buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter triggered a 14-1 Indiana run that stretched a two-point lead to 15 and helped put the game away. George led all scorers with 24 points. Lance Stephenson added 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. David West contributed 13 points, while Hibbert grabbed 12 of his 16 boards in the first quarter. Andrew Nicholson led Orlando with 18 points, all coming in the first half.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
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